Green

When people hear the word drought, they likely think of California. But there's also an extreme drought in parts of New England. The Northeast is experiencing the worst drought in more than a decade.

Serious algae outbreaks have hit more than 20 states this summer. Organisms are shutting down beaches in Florida, sickening swimmers in Utah and threatening ecosystems in California.

The blooms are a normal part of summer, but the frequency, size and toxicity this year are worse than ever.

And water managers are rattled.

"Everyone's on edge with the cyanobacteria," says Bev Anderson, a scientist with the California Water Resources Control Board.

Emails reporting outbreaks of cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae — fill Anderson's inbox every morning.

The Norwegian government says 323 reindeer were apparently struck by lightning last week and died.

The animals lived on a mountain plateau in central Norway called the Hardangervidda. The rugged alpine landscape is (usually) a good place for a reindeer — delicious lichens grow on exposed rocks, and the area is protected from development because it falls within a national park.

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The rumbling started on the afternoon of May 22, 1960. Sergio Barrientos, then about 8 years old, was walking down a street in his hometown in southern Chile when the ground started to shake. He remembers electrical wires swinging from the telephone poles — so violently that they slapped each other from opposite sides of the street.

"At the same time, I saw some of the chimneys falling down through the roofs of the houses," says Barrientos.

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It has 13 decks, eight restaurants, a casino and a spa. Staterooms start at about $20,000 and run as high as $120,000.

And it's about to journey through the Northwest Passage.

The Crystal Serenity is the largest cruise ship to navigate from Alaska to New York City, by way of the Arctic Ocean. And as climate change opens up the top of the world, it may be just the first taste of what's to come.

President Obama is expanding a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size and making it the world's largest protected marine area.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was created by President George W. Bush in 2006. At the time, it was seven times larger than all the other U.S. marine sanctuaries combined and the biggest marine reserve in the world.

Today Volkswagen announced a tentative agreement with its 652 franchise dealers in the U.S. The company didn't reveal the price tag but sources tell the Reuter news service the deal is worth $1.2 billion.

According to a statement from the company, Volkswagen has agreed to pay cash to the dealers and "to resolve alleged past, current and future claims of losses in franchise value."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Oil #5: Imagine A World Without Oil

Aug 24, 2016

On today's show, we follow the Planet Money oil to the end of the line.

And we ask: What would the world be like if fossil fuels did not exist? What if you dug down in the ground and there was nothing but dirt and rock.

Oil, coal and natural gas are this incredible store of energy, just sitting there in the ground waiting for us to dig them up. Amazing boon to humanity! But also: Climate change!

Would a world without oil be better? Worse? Or just different?

This is the last of five episodes about buying oil.

Tropical Storm Colin ripped across the Gulf of Mexico in June and hit the coast of southwest Florida with 60-mile-an-hour winds. Before it arrived, a team from the U.S. Geological Survey used a new computer model to predict how far inland the waves would invade. When the storm hit, the USGS sent Joe Long out to film it.

In Maine's North Woods, forests and rivers that used to feed paper mills will now be permanently protected as a national monument — thanks to a donation by the co-founder of Burt's Bees.

President Obama announced the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on Wednesday, just one day before the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

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